Saturday, January 8, 2022

January 9 Radio History

➦ January 9, 1926 edition of Radio Digest. Click Here

➦In 1922...KQV-AM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania began broadcasting. Jeff Roteman's Tribute website.

KQV was one of Pittsburgh's five original AM stations, signing on as amateur station "8ZAE" on November 19, 1919, predating KDKA which was granted the distinction of being, as KDKA claimed, the world's first commercially licensed station, on November 2, 1920. KQV did not receive a commercial license until January 9, 1922, despite having started transmitting three years earlier. KQV's call letters reportedly stand for "King of the Quaker Valley".

Only five radio stations east of the Mississippi River have call letters which start with K: along with KQV and KDKA, the others are KYW in Philadelphia (though the KYW callsign has in the past been used in Chicago and Cleveland), KTGG in Spring Arbor, MI, and KFIZ in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. KQV and KTGG are the only two of these such stations that have never had an associated TV station.

KQV was extremely successful as a top 40 station during the late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, owned by ABC for nearly all of that period with Count John K. Chapel as the radio personality. Known variously as "Colorful KQV," "Audio 14," "Groovy QV," and "The Big 14" over the years, KQV premiered its top 40 format on January 13, 1958, and is remembered for its high-profile, high-energy personalities, such as Chuck Brinkman, Hal Murray, Dave Scott, Steve Rizen, Dex Allen, Jim Quinn, future game show announcer Rod Roddy, and their large-scale promotion of a Beatles concert at Pittsburgh's Civic Arena in 1964, and its former showcase studios at the Chamber of Commerce Building in downtown Pittsburgh, where the disk jockeys could be watched through a large window.

Dominant with young listeners throughout the 1960s, the station was a major force in breaking new music and introducing Pittsburgh to new artists such as Sonny & Cher, the Rolling Stones, the Supremes, the Beach Boys, the Dave Clark Five and others. KQV slowly began to decline after 1970 with the advent of new competition from WJAS and the rise of FM radio (including its then-sister station WDVE, which began life as KQV-FM).

"Jeff Christie"
One of KQV's top-40 personalities in the 1970s, with the on-air name of "Jeff Christie," later became famous as a talk-show host under his real name, Rush Limbaugh

At the end of 1974, ABC Radio sold both KQV and WDVE to Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting.  Taft made another attempt at Top 40 on KQV, this time with a far more radical presentation, with Joey Reynolds as program director, before dropping the format altogether. Its final night as a top 40 station was October 14, 1975, with Neil Diamond's "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show" played as the final song.

The next morning, October 15, 1975, KQV switched to its present all-news format, carrying NBC Radio's 24-hour News and Information Service. Even though NBC cancelled this service two years later, KQV continued as an all-news station with local elements.

In 1982 Taft executives told KQV's general manager, Robert W. Dickey (no relation to the Dickey family that founded the Cumulus Media conglomerate), that it intended to sell the station.  Hoping to avoid a potential format change that often results from an ownership shift, Dickey decided to make a bid to buy the station. He received financial backing from newspaper publisher Richard Mellon Scaife and together they formed Calvary, Inc., purchasing the station from Taft that same year.

Dickey died on December 24, 2011,  his estate remained a partner in the station's ownership, with Robert W. Dickey Jr. succeeding his father as general manager. Dickey Jr.'s sister and station co-owner, Cheryl Scott, died in November 2017 at age 65.

On May 14, 2013, it was announced that Richard Mellon Scaife was selling his shares in KQV to the Dickey family, giving the Dickeys full ownership.  Scaife died a year later.  Citing declining revenue, all-news KQV signed-off on December 31, 2017.  New owners returned the station to the air on December 19, 2019, simulcasting  'beautiful music from sister-station WKGO in nearby McKeesport.

➦In 1929...KFCR San Barbara, CA became KDB radio.  The station launched on the 720 kHz frequency as KFCR in April 1926; it moved to 1420 kHz the following year.

KFCR was purchased in 1929 by George Barnes, owner of KGB in San Diego. Barnes changed the call letters to KDB in tribute to his wife, Dorothy Barnes, and moved the station to 1500 kHz.  In October of that year, KDB's license was canceled for failure to comply with regulations from the US Federal Radio Commission (forerunner to the Federal Communications Commission or FCC). At issue were broadcasts featuring The Crusaders, an organization that promoted the repeal of Prohibition. The station's management fought vigorously to get the license back, and KDB returned to the air by the end of the year.

Over the next couple of decades, KDB was bought and sold several times. In 1931, it became part of the Don Lee Network by virtue of being sold to Lee under the corporate name Santa Barbara Broadcasters. KDB relocated to the 1490 kHz frequency in 1941.

In 1969, then-owner Len Menard sold KDB-AM-FM to Pacific Broadcasting Company, owned by Richard E. Marsh, for $400,000.  On September 1, 1990, KDB changed its call letters to KSPE. Two months later, in a reorganization effort, Pacific Broadcasting sold KSPE to Spectacular Broadcasting for $302,000. Around the same time, the station began airing a regional Mexican music format.  The station's call-sign changed once again in 1997 to KBKO.

In October 1998, Spectacular sold KBKO and its sister station, then known as KSPE-FM, to Jacor Communications (later part of Clear Channel Communications, now iHeartMedia) for $4.6 million.On January 11, 2007, Clear Channel Communications sold all of its radio stations in Santa Barbara, including KBKO, to Rincon Broadcasting for $17.3 million.

On October 28, 2008, the KBKO callsign changed to KIST, which was previously used on 1340 AM (now KCLU).

On July 19, 2010, KIST changed its call letters to KSPE. This was accompanied by a format flip on September 15, 2010 to Spanish adult hits with the branding "La Preciosa". In July 2017, KSPE adjusted its format to Spanish adult contemporary and adopted the branding "La Musical".

On September 14, 2017, La Musical moved to KFYZ (94.5 FM); KSPE stunted with a looped announcement in Spanish notifying listeners to tune in at the new frequency. The next day, the stunt ended and KSPE introduced a rhythmic oldies format with new callsign KOSJ.

➦In 1935...Future sportscaster Dick Enberg born (Died -December 21, 2017). Over the course of an approximately 60-year career, he provided play-by-play of various sports for several radio and television networks, including NBC (1975–1999), CBS (2000–2014), and ESPN (2004–2011), as well as for individual teams, such as UCLA Bruins basketball, Los Angeles Rams football, and California Angels and San Diego Padres baseball.

Enberg was well known for his signature on-air catchphrases "Touch 'em all" (for home runs) and "Oh, my!" (for particularly exciting and outstanding athletic plays). He also announced or hosted the Tournament of Roses Parade for many years, sometimes with the help of family members. Enberg retired from broadcasting in 2016, after seven seasons as the Padres' primary television announcer.

He died of a heart attack Dec. 21 2017 at age 82.

➦In 2001...Apple announced iTunes at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, for organizing and playing digital music and videos

➦In 2006...The Howard Stern Show made its debut broadcast on Sirius Satellite Radio. The show began with Also Sprach Zarathustra with added flatulence sound effects. 180,000 Sirius radios were activated a day before. In May 2006, Stern claimed he had received offers from three major companies to return to terrestrial radio. Although he would never return, Stern did mention that it would be "cool to go back and kick their asses."

➦In 2007...WNEW 102.7 FM in NYC became WWFS.

The 102.7 FM frequency was first assigned in the mid-1940s as WNJR-FM from Newark, New Jersey. Initially intended to be a simulcasting sister to WNJR (1430 AM, now WNSW), the FM station never made it to the air despite being granted several extensions of its construction permit. WNJR finally gave up and turned in the FM license to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1953.

In 1955 the FCC awarded a new permit for 102.7 FM to a group called Fidelity Radio Corporation, based in West Paterson, New Jersey.  The station was later granted the call sign WHFI, and a year later the community of license was moved back to Newark from West Paterson. Once again, the owners failed to put the station on the air.

In November 1957, the WHFI construction permit was purchased by the DuMont Broadcasting Corporation, which already owned WABD (later WNEW-TV) and earlier in the year bought WNEW radio.   In January 1958, WHFI was renamed WNEW-FM  and DuMont completed its build-out, moving the license to New York City. The station finally came on the air on August 25, 1958, partially simulcasting WNEW (AM) with a separate popular music format.   DuMont Broadcasting, meanwhile, would change its corporate name twice within the next three years before settling on Metromedia in 1961.

WNEW-FM's early programming also included an automated middle-of-the-road format, followed quickly by a ten-month-long period (July 4, 1966, to September 1967) playing pop music—with an all-female air staff.  The gimmick was unique and had not before been attempted anywhere in American radio. The lineup of disc jockeys during this stunt included Margaret Draper, Alison Steele (who stayed on to become the "Night Bird" on the AOR format), Rita Sands, Ann Clements, Arlene Kieta, Pam McKissick, and Nell Bassett. The music format, however, was a pale copy of WNEW-AM's adult standards format and only Steele, Sands, and Bassett had broadcast radio experience. The all-female disc jockey lineup endured for more than a year, changing in September 1967 to a mixed-gender staff.

On October 30, 1967, WNEW-FM adopted a progressive rock radio format, one that it became famous for and that influenced the rock listenership as well as the rock industry. The original disc jockeys were Bill "Rosko" Mercer, who started on October 30, 1967; Jonathan Schwartz, who made his debut on November 16, 1967; and "the Professor" Scott Muni, who first appeared on November 18, 1967. Alison Steele would stay on from the female staff and eventually take over the overnight shift on January 1, 1968.

Today, the station airs a Hot A/C Format, branding as WNEW-FM

➦In 2008... Johnny Grant died at age 84 (Born - May 9, 1923). He was a radio personality and television producer who also served as the honorary mayor of Hollywood, in which capacity he was often present at Hollywood community functions, including the unveiling of new stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An intersection just north of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue is designated "Johnny Grant Way".

He made his show business debut on the radio in 1939 as a local newscaster.  Grant joined the Army Air Corps during World War II, hosting a daily radio show in New York City for servicemen and women. During this time, he interviewed many entertainment stars who were in the city. After his discharge, he stayed in New York, working as a reporter for station WINS.

Having moved to California, Grant appeared as a disc jockey on Los Angeles area radio stations KGIL (1949–50) and KMPC (1951–59).  Along with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra, Grant co-hosted the first national telethon ever produced, a fundraiser to help send America's athletes to the Helsinki Olympics in 1952.  In the 1950s, he appeared in several films, often portraying uncredited fictional hosts. He played "Ed Harrison," an Ed Sullivan-type TV-show host, in the 1954 film White Christmas, and the Master of Ceremonies in the 1956 film The Girl Can't Help It.

➦In 2013... Raymond Franklin Page, known as Frank Page died at age 87 (Born - July 16, 1925). He was a broadcaster from radio station KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, who on October 16, 1954 introduced Elvis Presley to the Louisiana Hayride Country music program. The Hayride was presented weekly from 1948 until 1960 at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium; it was akin to Shreveport's temporary alternative to the permanent Grand Ole Opry of Nashville, Tennessee.

Page was born in Malvern in Hot Spring County, Arkansas. He enrolled in high school in the capital city of Little Rock, where he worked beginning at the age of sixteen for KGHI radio and thereafter at KLRA. On December 7, 1941, Page was broadcasting at the time of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1943, he enlisted in the United States Army during World War II. He was assigned briefly at the end of the war to American Forces Network in Berlin, Germany.  In 1946, he returned to KLRA but he and his announcing partner, Bob Fulton, were soon fired.  Page joined the staff of KWKH, named for broadcast pioneer W. K. Henderson, and worked at the station for sixty-five years until his retirement in 2005 at the age of 80.

During a year-long series of Presley appearances on the program, Wilkinson was the first to tell an audience, "Elvis has left the building."

➦In 2015…Radio, TV entrepreneur Lowell "Bud" Paxson died at age 80.  He was also the , creator of The Home Shopping Network and PAX TV.

Jimmy Page is 78


  • Actor K Callan (“Lois and Clark”) is 86. 
  • Singer Joan Baez is 81. 
  • Guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin is 78. 
  • Actor John Doman (“Gotham”) is 77. 
  • Singer-actor Buster Poindexter (David Johansen) is 72. 
  • Singer Crystal Gayle is 71. 
  • Actor J.K. Simmons (TV’s “The Closer,” ″Spider-Man” movies) is 67. 
  • Actor Imelda Staunton (“Harry Potter” movies, “Vera Drake”) is 66. 
  • Nina Dobrev ix 33
    Guitarist Eric Erlandson (Hole) is 59. 
  • Actor Joely Richardson is 57. 
  • Guitarist Carl Bell of Fuel is 55. 
  • Actor David Costabile (“Billions,” ″Breaking Bad”) is 55. 
  • Singer Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth is 55. 
  • Singer Dave Matthews of The Dave Matthews Band is 55. 
  • Actor Joey Lauren Adams (“Chasing Amy,” ″Big Daddy”) is 54. 
  • Actor Deon Cole (“black-ish”) is 51. 
  • Actor Angela Bettis (“Carrie,” ″Girl, Interrupted”) is 49. 
  • Actor Omari Hardwick (“Power”) is 48. 
  • Singer A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys is 44. 
  • Guitarist Drew Brown of OneRepublic is 38. 
  • Singer Paolo Nutini is 35. 
  • Actor Nina Dobrev (“The Vampire Diaries”) is 33. 
  • Actor Kerris Dorsey (“Ray Donovan,” ″Brothers and Sisters”) is 24. 
  • Actor Tyree Brown (“Parenthood”) is 18.

Report: Spotify Is Huge In Target Demo, Radio Losing TSL

AM-FM Radio Is Losing Listening Share

Morgan Stanley released some data around Spotify listening cmpany to AM/FM radio in the U-S.  The data shows a strong AM/FM radio, but it also eveals how much Spotify and other similar services are eating out of younger audiences.

Radio futurist and editor of Podnews James Cridland notes Morgan Stanley are a major shareholder of Spotify, so it’s logical it's in their interest to talk Spotify up.  

The Morgan Stanley data reveals reported listening share for leading digital platforms increased while broadcast radio fell. SiriusXM (paid), Spotify (freemium), and YouTube (free & paid) saw increases in listening share YoY. 

The increases largely came out of AM-FM radio, which saw its reported listening share fall 300 bp to a still leading share of 36%. 

Listening behavior varies widely by age with Spotify garnering the largest reported listening share among 18-29 year olds at 21%, more than 2x Apple Music’s reported share. This compares to over 50% share for broadcast radio among 65+, for example. 

While Morgan Stanley estimates that ~50% of the US smartphone market subscribes to a paid streaming service today, the challenge for Spotify and other paid services is migrating free users to pay. 

While YouTube’s reported listening share is similar to Spotify’s, its 60% reach among the survey highlights the popularity of ad-supported music streaming on the world largest content platform.

RLMC, GMR Strike Radio Station Deal

Irving Azoff’s performance rights collective, Global Music Rights, and the Radio Music License Committee, which represents radio station owners, have struck a deal to settle a long-running antitrust battle focused on what the commercial radio industry will pay to broadcast songs from artists represented by GMR, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The fight threatened to take some of the biggest songs of the 21st century off the radio.

A conditional confidential settlement was distributed on Thursday to RMLC radio stations detailing their ability to obtain future licenses from GMR to avoid potential copyright infringement. 

Irving Azoff
“The parties have reached this conditional settlement after more than 5-years of dueling litigations and great cost to both sides, in terms of both time and money,” reads the filing. “The conditional settlement recognizes a shared desire by both sides to resolve these disputes and to find a way for radio stations and GMR to work together on a long-term basis without repeatedly resorting to litigation.”

RMLC, which represents roughly 10,000 radio stations throughout the nation, sued in 2016 alleging that GMR violated antitrust laws by packing several artists in a take-it-or-leave-it deal. GMR struck back a month later claiming that RMLC constitutes an “illegal buyer’s cartel” that controls more than 90 percent of radio industry revenue by negotiating royalty rates for most commercial radio stations.

The settlement requires GMR to offer commercial radio stations a “negotiated, long-term license agreement” that begins on April 22.

“We strongly encourage your company to consider this negotiated settlement offer if your stations desire to continue publicly performing songs in the GMR repertory,” the agreement states. “It will put an end to 5 years of litigation between RMLC and GMR, and give radio stations the opportunity to perform GMR works for several years with rate certainty.

The deal is “conditional” because it will be finalized only if a sufficient percentage of radio stations opt into the deal by signing the negotiated license contract. GMR, which represents over 43,000 songs and 83 songwriters, including Pharrell Williams, Drake, and Bruce Springsteen, has not committed to offer any other license to radio stations after the current one expires on March 31.

GMR did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

San Antonio Radio: Ex-Morning Host Beth Boehm EXITS Y100

San Antonio's country KYCC Y100 will debut a new morning show Monday called "Frito and Katy," but the addition means an exit for beloved personality Beth Boehn, reports

Beth Boehm
The final day for Boehm, who was part of San Antonio mornings since 2013, was Wednesday, January 6. 

Boehm's peppy morning banter and approachable presence at the rodeo and popular station events like the Eight Man Jam made her a Y100 staple.

A news release says the Tucker "Frito" Young and Katy Dempsey has a successful run in College Station before San Antonio. Young and Dempsey are both graduates of the University of Texas. 

The new show hosts shared on Facebook that they are "ready" to join San Antonio. The duo posted a photo of themselves standing in front of the Alamo to share the news. 

Frito & Katy
“I am so excited to add the award-winning Frito & Katy show to the Y100 lineup,”  KCYY Program Director Christi Brooks says in the announcement “They bring authenticity and incredible passion for serving our local community and entertaining morning listeners in San Antonio. I can’t wait to see the new heights we’ll achieve with our already successful Y100 team."

In an email to MySA, Brooks added that San Antonio listeners will see that the new hosts "are going to wrap their arms around San Antonio and our surrounding area."

Boehm, originally from Florida, started in San Antonio with Jeff Miles, then co-hosted the show with J.R. Jaus. Joe Pesh took over for a little more than a year before announcing his "tough" exit in September 2021. Boehm has not publicly addressed her departure. 

ESPN Unveils New Plans For Sunday Night Baseball

  • Five-time World Series Champion and Cy Young Award Winner David Cone Joins ESPN, Teams Up with Fourth-ever SNB Play-by-Play Voice Karl Ravech and Analyst Eduardo Perez to Form New Booth
  • Three-time M.V.P. and World Series Champion Alex Rodriguez Joins Veteran Commentator Michael Kay for Eight Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod Special Presentations on ESPN2, Plus Additional Exclusive Game Broadcasts
  • Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod Continues Longstanding Tradition of ESPN Creating Unique Alternate Presentations across Sports Dating Back to 2006
ESPN has announced its new coverage strategy for Sunday Night Baseball – the exclusive, national Major League Baseball game of the week – as it begins the first year of a long-term MLB rights extension. ESPN has reached a multi-year agreement with five-time World Series Champion and former Cy Young Award winner David Cone. The veteran pitcher and YES Network analyst will team up with Karl Ravech, who becomes just the fourth-ever Sunday Night Baseball play-by-play voice, as well as veteran analyst, player and coach Eduardo Perez, to form the new Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth.

For both Ravech and Perez, the new roles are part of long-term contract extensions with ESPN. Along with Cone, the trio will call the premier MLB regular-season broadcast package – ESPN’s 25 Sunday Night Baseball telecasts – as well as additional exclusive games during the season, including MLB Opening Night.

⚾Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay Join Forces for Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod

As part of ESPN’s overall Sunday Night Baseball coverage strategy, it’s launching Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod – a special viewing presentation to air on ESPN2 alongside the traditional ESPN game telecast for eight Sunday Night Baseball games. The presentations will feature World Series Champion and analyst Alex Rodriguez and YES Network play-by-play voice and ESPN Radio host Michael Kay. Rodriguez, who hit 696 home runs and won three M.V.P. awards in his storied career, has also reached a multi-year contract extension with ESPN and returns for his fifth season as an analyst.

The eight Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod presentations on ESPN2 will coincide with ESPN’s highest-profile rivalry games, including the New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox. In addition to discussion and analysis, the telecasts will integrate fantasy baseball, predictive analytics and special guests tied to the game.

Rodriguez and Kay will appear on site for select games, while appearing live from their home studios for other games. Rodriguez and Kay will also serve as ESPN’s main broadcast team for two exclusive ESPN MLB regular-season games. Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod is the latest in ESPN’s long, multi-platform history of special viewing presentations dating back to 2006 across its MLB, NBA, College Football, College Basketball, NFL and Little League properties, among others.

Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President & Executive Editor, Production:

“As we begin our next chapter of baseball coverage, we aim to maximize the value of this new rights agreement by prioritizing innovation and compelling storytelling. We welcome David Cone to ESPN and believe he and Eduardo Perez will offer a master class in contemporary analysis, including Statcast-driven data and discussion. Karl Ravech, who has been our “Mr. Baseball” for three decades, will lead the booth with the command and credibility that he’s displayed throughout his career. I’m equally excited for the duo of Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay to team up and offer fans a new, engaging experience. The innovative Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod presentations will be informative and entertaining and play a crucial role in our overall Sunday Night Baseball content offerings. We’re grateful for the collaboration with the YES Network and look forward to starting the 2022 season.”

If the MLB Wild Card Series returns in 2022, the event will be fully exclusive to ESPN platforms and both new commentator teams will contribute to coverage.

The reporting trio of ESPN senior MLB insider Buster Olney, senior writer Marly Rivera and analyst and 2022 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner Tim Kurkjian, will make regular contributions to ESPN’s overall baseball coverage on Sundays, including on Sunday Night Baseball, Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown, BBTN Live on ESPN digital platforms, and ESPN Radio’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts.

⚾Ravech and Perez at ESPN

Ravech, who joined ESPN in 1993, has led ESPN’s cross-platform baseball coverage for nearly 30 years. In recent years, Ravech has served as the lead play-by-play commentator for ESPN’s non-Sunday Night Baseball game coverage, the Home Run Derby, Little League Baseball World Series, the Men’s College Baseball World Series as well as contributing to Men’s College Basketball. Perez, who was at ESPN from 2006-2010 before returning in 2014, has served as one of ESPN’s premier baseball analysts. He has regularly teamed with Ravech on the aforementioned baseball events, as well as Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown. 

⚾Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown Hits the Road

Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown, will hit the road in 2022 for a dozen on-site pre-game shows leading into Sunday Night Baseball. Karl Ravech will continue to host Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown on the road. Ravech will be joined by ESPN’s deep roster of MLB analysts and reporters, including Jessica Mendoza, Eduardo Perez, David Cone, Marly Rivera, Doug Glanville, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers.

ESPN Radio will document the 2022 Major League Baseball season, including on Sunday Night Baseball and culminating with its 25th World Series. Jon “Boog” Sciambi will enter his 13th season as ESPN Radio’s Sunday Night Baseball play-by-play voice. ESPN analyst Doug Glanville will join the ESPN Radio team for his first season as analyst, teaming up with Sciambi. Coverage will also include reports from Marly Rivera, Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian.

Baseball Tonight’s digital pregame show, BBTN Live, will return for its third season, previewing the highest-profile Sunday Night Baseball games. The team of host Gary Striewski, The Undefeated’s Clinton Yates and baseball writer Joon Lee will provide commentary. BBTN Live is available on ESPN’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram platforms generally 30 minutes prior to the game.

Report: Sinclair Broadcast ThisClose To NBA Streaming Deal

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s sports network unit is close to clinching deals to carry National Basketball Association games on its new streaming service and $600 million of financing to support the launch later this year.

Bloomberg reports the new loan for Diamond Sports Group’s venture could be announced along with local NBA streaming rights as soon as next week, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Diamond expects to roll out the offering in the first half of 2022, which will expand on its existing streaming service for regional TV subscribers, according to one of the people. They asked not to be identified discussing confidential negotiations.

The NBA deal will give Diamond regional digital rights to the basketball league in addition to the broadcast rights that the largest U.S. regional sports network operator already owns, according to one person. The streaming app will be financed with a new super-priority first-lien loan from an existing group of secured creditors.

A representative for Sinclair, based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and Diamond declined to comment. The NBA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Debt Load

The launch could help Diamond break a slump in viewership and generate earnings to help manage the massive debts that stem from its 2019 sale to Sinclair. The sports network and Sinclair have been in talks with creditors for months over ways to manage its $8.1 billion burden and support the development of the consumer app, which is key to its future as the traditional TV audience erodes.

Hockey Rights

Diamond owed Sinclair $75 million in management services for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2021 according to the company’s third-quarter earnings statement. One agreement contains an incentive fee that was $80 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2021, according to the statement.

The sports subsidiary told investors in December that it had a renewed a key deal with the National Hockey League for local streaming rights for 12 NHL teams. Diamond is still negotiating with individual baseball teams.

Bloomberg Intelligence said in a report last month that the NHL deal and securing NBA rights should be sufficient to launch the new platform this year. Sinclair has TV rights for 16 NBA, 14 MLB and 12 NHL teams, according to BI.

Trump's Social Media Platform To Debut This Month

Former President Donald Trump’s new social media platform Truth Social is expected to launch on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 21, according to The NY Post citing an Apple App Store listing. 

Truth Social, which the 45th president announced in October, is the latest conservative alternative to large social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, which the former president has repeatedly slammed for censorship. 

The new app is being launched by Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) and can be preordered before its expected release date.

Similar to other social media platforms, Truth Social will feature a “feed” that will contain posts from different users whom someone might follow. The app will look very similar to platforms like Twitter, according to photos uploaded to the listing. 

At the time of the launch announcement, TMTG revealed that the app would be launched in beta for “invited guests” in November. At the time, the company described the platform as “America’s ‘Big Tent’ social media platform that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology.

Last fall, more than 60 percent of registered Republicans said they planned to use the soon-to-be-released social media platform, according to a Morning Consult/Politico poll. Only 20 percent of Republicans said they didn’t plan to use it at all. 

Recently, former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) announced his early departure from Congress to head up the social media company. 

January 8 Radio History

KGO Building 1926

➦In 1924...After several late-night test broadcasts, using the experimental call letter 6XG, radio station KGO signed on the air from General Electric's Oakland, electrical facility (the original two-story brick building, constructed specifically for the station on East 14th Street, still exists on the site), as part of a planned three-station network comprising WGY in Schenectady, New York, and KOA in Denver, Colorado.

The General Electric Company had been one of the giants of the electrical industry since its founding by Thomas A. Edison in the nineteenth century. After conquering the worlds of power generation and electric lighting, the company became one of the pioneers in the radio field as a partner with Westinghouse in the new RCA manufacturing conglomerate. As a major early manufacturer of radio receivers, they, like Westinghouse, saw the value in operating broadcast stations to promote the sale of radio receivers. General Electric constructed and operated WGY at its manufacturing facility in Schenectady, New York in 1922.

With the success of WGY, General Electric began making plans to build two other high-powered radio stations. One station was to cover the mountain and plains states, while the third was to be heard on the Pacific Coast. They immediately began investigating the San Francisco area as a base for the Pacific station, because of its location midway along the coast, and because of the ample supply of musical talent in the area. Originally, General Electric announced plans to build the station on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, and had drawn up plans for several ornamental antenna structures to be built there. However, they finally settled on a site in Oakland, at a G. E. power transformer manufacturing facility there, located at East 14th Street and 55th Avenue. At the time, what is now known as East Oakland was only sparsely populated, and G. E. had just completed their sprawling plant on a 24-acre site earlier that year.

Construction was begun on the studio and transmitter buildings in June of 1923, about a year before the company's third station, KOA in Denver, was begun. The license was applied for and the call letters KGO assigned. Those call letters had previously been held by a radio store in Altadena, near Los Angeles. That station had gone off the air after less than a year of operation.

Meanwhile, newspapers in the area were heralding the coming of a great new super-station to the Bay Area. The "Examiner" headlined, "Plans Ready for Biggest Radio in the West". It announced that the new thousand-watt station would be strong enough to "throw the human voice one third around the world ... more powerful than any station west of Schenectady, New York," referring to G. E.'s eastern operation.

KGO was first known as the "Sunset Station"; at that time it operated with a then-impressive 1000 watts.  As was the custom with early radio stations, the programming consisted of performances by local talent, including the KGO Orchestra which provided some of the music; and a dramatic group known as the KGO Players, which performed weekly plays and short skits, often under the direction of Bay-area drama instructor Wilda Wilson Church. The station's music, which was also performed by other local orchestras and vocalists, would include classical selections as well as popular dance music the next night. Due to GE's involvement in RCA and RCA's launch of the NBC radio network, KGO was soon operated by NBC management as part of the NBC network.

Click Here for 1950 Program Schedule

KGO Transmitter Room - Date Unknown

By the 1928 Band Plan, 790 kHz was allocated to Oakland, California, and to KGO, which was then owned by General Electric, on an internationally cleared basis. In order to obtain a clear channel in Schenectady, New York, for what would become the present-day WGY, GE effected a breakdown of 790 kHz, whereby WGY would assume the maximum permissible power, and KGO would be lowered in power to 7.5 kW, which was then lower than the minimum permissible power for a clear channel station (10 kW), but higher than the then maximum permissible power for a regional channel station (5 kW). Both stations retained omnidirectional antennas. Therefore, GE effectively removed from the West one of its eight clear channels and added an additional clear channel to the East thereby giving the East nine clear channels and the West only seven. The other "regions" in the Band Plan all retained their allotted eight clear channels. In 1941, stations on 790 kHz were moved to 810 kHz. On December 1, 1947, KGO was directionalized, and power was increased to 50 kW, the new minimum (and maximum) power for a U.S. clear channel. An article in Broadcasting magazine noted that the increase "retired the nation's oldest regularly operating transmitter -- a 7,500-watter ... in use since Jan. 8, 1924."

KGO's tower falls after the Loma Prieta earthquake (1989)

➦In 1926...Milton Supman born (Died - October 22, 2009). He was known professionally as Soupy Sales and was a comedian, actor, radio/television personality, and jazz aficionado. 

He was best known for his local and network children's television show Lunch with Soupy Sales (1953–1966), a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark. From 1968 to 1975 he was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What's My Line? and appeared on several other TV game shows. During the 1980s, Sales hosted his own show on WNBC-AM in New York City.

Sales hosted a midday radio show on WNBC 660 AM in New York from March 1985 to March 1987. His program was between the drive time shifts of Don Imus (morning) and Howard Stern (afternoon), with whom Sales had an acrimonious relationship.

Soupy Sales
An example of this was an incident involving Stern telling listeners that he was cutting the strings in Sales' in-studio piano at 4:05 p.m. on May 1, 1985. On December 21, 2007, Stern revealed this was a stunt staged for "theater of the mind" and to torture Sales; in truth, the piano was never harmed.  Sales' on-air crew included his producer, Ray D'Ariano, newscaster Judy DeAngelis, and pianist Paul Dver, who was also Soupy's manager.

When Soupy's show was not renewed, his time slot would be taken over by D'ariano. Near the end of his contract, Sales lost his temper on the air, and began to speak very frankly about how he felt he had been treated poorly by the station, and how he felt betrayed that D'ariano would be taking over the show. The show went to break after a commercial - Sales was off the air, replaced without comment or explanation by program director Randall Baumgarten. Soupy would not return to the air. He died October 22, 2009 at age 83.

➦In 1929...the CBS Radio Network purchased WABC in New York City. The WABC calls were once used previously on CBS Radio's New York City outlet, before adopting their current WCBS-AM identity in 1946. Network founder William S. Paley appeared for the first time on the Columbia Broadcasting System to announce that it had become the largest chain of stations in radio’s short history.

Elvis with parents
➦In 1935...Elvis Aaron Presley born (Died – August 16, 1977). Known as Elvis, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".

Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and relocated to Memphis, TN with his family when he was 13 years old. His music career began there in 1954, recording at Sun Records with producer Sam Phillips, who wanted to bring the sound of African-American music to a wider audience. Presley, on rhythm acoustic guitar, and accompanied by lead guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, was a pioneer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. In 1955, drummer D. J. Fontana joined to complete the lineup of Presley's classic quartet and RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who would manage him for more than two decades.

Elvis' First Album
\Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel", was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit.. With a series of successful network TV appearances and chart-topping records, he became the leading figure of the newly popular sound of rock and roll. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race relations, made him enormously popular—and controversial.

In November 1956, Presley made his film debut in Love Me Tender. Drafted into military service in 1958, Presley relaunched his recording career two years later with some of his most commercially successful work. He held few concerts however, and guided by Parker, proceeded to devote much of the 1960s to making Hollywood films and soundtrack albums, most of them critically derided. In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed television comeback special Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley gave the first concert by a solo artist to be broadcast around the world, Aloha from Hawaii. Years of prescription drug abuse severely compromised his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at his Graceland estate at the age of 42.

Presley is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music. He was commercially successful in many genres, including pop, country, blues, and gospel. He won three competitive Grammys, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.

He died Aug. 16, 1977 at 42

➦In 1944..., Billboard Magazine published its first “Most Played Juke Box Folk Records” chart, which became the chart which measured the nationwide success of current country music songs.  The first #1 song was “Pistol Packin’ Mama” by Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters.

➦In 1946...For his 11th birthday, Elvis Presley was taken by his mother to the Tupelo Hardware Company. Instead of the rifle he wanted for a birthday gift, Elvis received his first guitar, priced at $7.75. 

➦In 2004...the heir to a New York morning radio dynasty John A. Gambling died at age 73. Gambling worked at WOR radio from 1959 until 1991 (32 years) when he retired. He succeeded his father, John B. Gambling, who began the show in 1925. A third generation broadcaster, John R. Gambling, son and grandson of his predecessors, continued the family business on WOR until his retirement on December 20, 2013.

Larry Storch is 99


  • Actor-comedian Larry Storch (“F Troop”) is 99. 
  • Former “Sunday Morning” host Charles Osgood is 89. 
  • Singer Shirley Bassey is 85. 
  • Game show host Bob Eubanks (“The Newlywed Game”) is 84. 
  • Country-gospel singer Cristy Lane is 82. 
  • Amber Benson is 45
    Singer Anthony Gourdine of Little Anthony and the Imperials is 81. 
  • Actor Yvette Mimieux (“The Time Machine,” ″Where the Boys Are”) is 80. 
  • Singer Juanita Cowart Motley of The Marvelettes is 78. 
  • Actor Kathleen Noone (“Knots Landing”) is 77. 
  • Guitarist Robby Krieger of The Doors is 76. 
  • Actor Harriet Sansom Harris (“Desperate Housewives”) is 67. 
  • Actor Ron Cephas Jones (“This is Us”) is 65. 
  • Actor Michelle Forbes (“True Blood,” ″Homicide,” ″Star Trek: The Next Generation”) is 57. 
  • Actor Maria Pitillo (“Providence”) is 56. 
  • Bassist Jeff Abercrombie of Fuel is 53. 
  • Reggae singer Sean Paul is 49. 
  • Singer-actor Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley is 46. 
  • Actor Amber Benson (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”) is 45. 
  • Actor Gaby Hoffman (“Sleepless in Seattle,” ″Field of Dreams”) is 40. 
  • Guitarist Disashi Lumumbo-Kasongo of Gym Class Heroes is 39. 
  • Actor Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) is 35.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Forecast: Apple To Bid For ESPN In 2024

The sports streaming war is heating up and Apple could make a major move by purchasing ESPN in 2024, according to Cord Cutter's News citing a prediction made by Robert Ourand of Sports Business Journal on the Marchand & Ourand podcast. During the podcast Ourand said the following:

“Think 2024, right before the NBA negotiation takes place. ESPN desperately wants to keep the NBA. You have some of these big digital companies that want to get the NBA. My call of the year, 2024, Apple wants to get involved and they’re going to buy ESPN from Disney.”

In recent months, there have been reports of Disney wanting to spin off ESPN, as the company shifts its focus to digital platforms — many of ESPN’s contracts are tied up long term to linear TV models. With Apple looking to expand their sports offering, buying ESPN would be a no-brainer and give the company a leg up, as more people become passionate about sports they didn’t have access to before streaming. 

“They (Apple) have the pocketbook, to be able to buy the biggest sports media company there is, and that will be Apple’s entry into sports. It will jet fuel Apple TV+, Apple will then be the biggest sports media company, including Amazon, in the country,” Ourand said on the podcast.

With ESPN having its own in-house production and an abundance of contracts with different leagues, this would make Apple the go-to place for sports. Add in Apple’s ecosystem of devices and the technology company already has the infrastructure to get sports directly in the hands of people. 

Currently, Apple’s foray into sports includes a multi-year first-look deal with Meadowlark Media, which will include “premium documentaries and unscripted series” from the world of sports. A four-part docuseries about Magic Johnson will be available to stream on Apple TV+ soon.

Almost 75% Of Music Consumption Is Now Catalog Product

Catalog releases – or tracks that debuted more than 18 months ago – experienced a 24.8 percent year-over-year consumption hike in the U.S. in 2021 and accounted for nearly three-quarters of domestic listening, even as total stateside audio streams grew by nearly 10 percent YoY, reports Digital Music News.

These and other interesting stats came to light in MRC Data’s newly released 2021 yearend report. In addition to the 9.9 percent boost for stateside on-demand song streaming (which finished at 1.13 trillion streams), global on-demand audio streams (not including video) jumped 26.3 percent YoY, to 2.74 trillion, according to the analysis.

Notwithstanding the improvement – and particularly the audio streams growth in the U.S. – catalog releases’ stateside consumption share surged 24.8 percent YoY, as noted, to 74.5 percent, the report states.

And despite the strong streaming performances of 2021 tracks from Olivia Rodrigo, Adele, and BTS, to name some, non-catalog consumption, covering releases that are less than 18 months old, dropped from 33.6 percent in 2020 to 25.5 percent in 2021, per the breakdown.

Regarding the 2021 growth of both U.S. streaming volume and catalog consumption, some older tracks have found younger audiences after going viral on social media. Predictably, a full 99 percent of the U.S.’s Gen Z residents use streaming services to enjoy music, against 98 percent for millennials and 96 percent for Gen X, according to the report – with each total easily topping those of other nations.

Perhaps the most telling data on this front, however, pertains to U.S. baby boomers, a full 89 percent of whom stream music weekly.

Also in terms of domestic listening trends in 2021, U.S. total album consumption – encompassing albums proper, track-equivalent albums (10 digital tracks per album), and stream-equivalent albums (1,250 premium streams/3,750 ad-supported streams per album) – grew by 11.3 percent YoY, to 893.1 million, per MRC Data.

Because of this streaming growth and a major YoY gain for U.S. vinyl sales, total stateside album sales, for both digital and physical, finished at 109 million (up 6.3 percent YoY), the document shows.

Aligning with other markets’ recently released data, vinyl continued to grow in the U.S. during 2021, when consumers purchased 41.7 million LPs – 51.4 percent more than in 2020, and enough to overtake CDs and their 40.6 million units shipped stateside on the year. The latter total nevertheless reflects a 1.1 percent YoY improvement for the format.

Finally, Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album placed first on the top albums chart, as its 3.23 million 2021 total album-equivalent consumption beat that of Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour (2.86 million) and Drake’s Certified Lover Boy (1.97 million).

Adele’s 30 placed first on the list of top albums by total sales (1.46 million units), also topping the chart for digital album sales (245,000 units) and physical sales (1.22 million units), including 318,000 vinyl units sold.

R.I.P.: Dennis Owens, DC’s Voice of Classical Music

Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens, a popular D.C. radio personality who for decades made classical music fun and approachable, died of degenerative heart disease on Sept. 26 in Naples, Florida, where he had retired. Owens was 87, according to the WTOP website.

For nearly four decades, Owens entertained listeners of WGMS not only with a wide repertoire of classical musical that soothed frayed nerves during rush hour, but also with a witty sense of humor that appealed to a broad audience.

By all accounts, Owens prided himself on making classical music accessible.

Owens began at WGMS in 1966 — he also worked at WTOP during his early years in Washington — moving up the ranks even though he had no classical music experience. In fact, his taste in music was like his fan base: eclectic.

Born in England, Owens moved to Canada, where some people suggested he try radio because of his voice and his wit, Christiane said.

Eventually, Owens took a gig in Bermuda, where he played “rock ‘n’ roll, he played Frank Sinatra, he played all kinds of modern music at that time,” Christiane said. “He actually didn’t consider himself a DJ.”

Nor did his fans, many of whom were drawn more to Owens’ lively — often unfiltered — commentary than to the composers he played.

“On the air, he recited poetry, cracked wise about news headlines, and noted the surrealities of life, asking on one morning, ‘What do they list as your hair color on your driver’s license if you’re bald?’ and observing on another day: ‘Some of you drink from the fountain of knowledge. Others merely gargle,’” wrote Marc Fisher in Owens’ obituary for The Washington Post.

WTOP General Manager Joel Oxley, who worked with Owens, described him as “one of the funniest, sharpest, smartest people I ever met. … There will never be another broadcaster like him. Humor and classical. Great combo.”

Owens delivered perhaps one of his most memorable lines when his morning show ended in 2002 and he observed that, “Classical music is like sex. You never know how long it’s going to last, and it’s embarrassing if you clap at the wrong time.”

Owens officially retired in 2005 — WGMS ceased operations two years later — and moved with his wife to Naples.

Report: CBS News Staffers Not Happy With New Boss

Neeraj Khemlani
A new boss at CBS News is slashing costs in a bid to revamp the struggling network — and he’s also provoking complaints from employees, with some grumbling that he is “rude” and “micromanaging.”

The NY Post reports staffers at the third-place network gripe that co-president Neeraj Khemlani — a former Hearst executive who along with ex-ABC executive Wendy McMahon took the reins in May — is demanding more work even as he axes resources, with some raising concerns that ruthless bean counting at CBS News is “cutting it to the bone.”

The network is reportedly reassessing budgets amid concerns that it may no longer be able to afford big-name anchors such as Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, who are currently renegotiating their contracts.

Behind the scenes, ticked-off employees grumble that Khemlani cultivates a “Shark Tank”-like investor’s persona that’s focused on “poking holes” in business plans and demanding to know the “return on investment” for new projects. Some have complained of “micro aggressions” that include calling staffers late and on weekends and leveling tough questions in meetings about to-do lists even as many departments are understaffed.

“There has never been a more unpopular news division president,” said one CBS veteran. “I don’t think people would be surprised if he’s not here in a couple months.”

Some employees speculated that Cheeks tapped Khemlani at the behest of ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish and chair Shari Redstone to chop overhead at CBS and merge it with Comcast, which already has a news division. Others believe that the steep cuts are related to Viacom’s 2019 merger with CBS, which promised cost synergies of $300 million in 2020 and a three-year target of $800 million.

Providence Radio: Bill Bartholomew Named APD At N/T WPRO

CUMULUS MEDIA has announced that it has appointed multimedia journalist Bill Bartholomew as Assistant Program Director/Executive Producer for NewsTalk WPRO 99.7 FM & AM 630, the Voice of Southern New England. 

Bill Bartholomew
Bartholomew is creator and host of “The Bartholomewtown Podcast,” a popular local political podcast that features in-depth interviews with local and national figures. In addition, Bartholomew is a regular contributor to Rhode Island PBS and is an accomplished musician. He holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island.

Doug MacGunnigle, WPRO Program Director, said: “I’m excited to welcome Bill to the team. His experience in the digital realm, standing in the community, and political savvy will add greatly to the success of WPRO and be a tremendous asset as we move into new and exciting frontiers, both on the air and beyond.”

Bartholomew commented: “Joining the team at legendary platform WPRO on a daily basis is a tremendous opportunity for me, and one that I take extremely seriously. For nearly a century, WPRO has been a trusted source for southern New Englanders, and I look forward to collaborating with the station to expand the reach of my perspective and insight into the issues that are important to the region, introducing radio to a new audience, and expanding WPRO’s reach in the rapidly expanding digital space.”

San Antonio Radio: Frito & Katy Snag Mornings At Country KCYY-FM

Cox Media Group has announced the debut of a new, local morning show in San Antonio on Country KCYY  Y-100 featuring broadcasting team Frito & Katy whose decade-long era in College Station ended last month. 

Their new show will debut on Y-100 on January 10.

Frito & Katy
Tucker “Frito” Young and Katy Dempsey have racked up a variety of awards during their historic run in College Station, including eight Best of the Brazos Valley “Best Radio Personality” awards, the 2021 National Association of Broadcasters award for personality of the year, and the 2017, 2018 and 2021 Marconi Awards for station of the year. They have also been handed three NAB Crystal Awards for public service (2012, 2016, and 2019) and the 2021 NAB Leadership Foundation’s “Celebration of Service to America” award for local community service.

“I am so excited to add the award-winning Frito & Katy show to the Y100 lineup,” said Christi Brooks, KCYY Program Director. “They bring authenticity and incredible passion for serving our local community and entertaining morning listeners in San Antonio. I can’t wait to see the new heights we’ll achieve with our already successful Y100 team!”

Young and Dempsey are graduates of the University of Texas at Austin. Young, who began his career as a traffic anchor, previously served as Operations Manager for the College Station cluster. Dempsey was previously Program Director at KNDE and is a devoted volunteer for the Special Olympics-Texas and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

"To do morning radio with your best friend in a city we both love with a company like CMG is really a dream come true," said Frito and Katy. "Our show is all about community, and we can't wait to serve San Antonio!"